Choosing what CRM system is best for your business can be quite challenging, especially when faced with so many options. The fundamental point to remember is a CRM can bring great long-term value to your business, so viewing it as a strategic investment can be a really good idea.
There are vast benefits available through the right CRM as it could not only save you time and money, but potentially make you money in the longer term. With the ability to streamline processes and increase efficiency, you will likely need less resource and if you build your CRM with your business objectives and customers in mind, there is great potential for improving business profitability.
The first decision you will need to make is if you will choose and off the shelf or bespoke CRM. Here is some guidance to help you make an informed decision that’s right for your business.
When do you need to implement your CRM system? Will your business fold if you don’t have something in place in a few months? Or, do you have a reasonable timeframe? Typically, off the shelf CRM packages are great for emergency situations. However, if you need your system to do something specific and the software will require add ons or customisation, be aware that this all adds to your timescales. So, if you need your CRM yesterday and there is an off the shelf solution that meets the future needs of your business without a whole load of add ons, the off the shelf packages may well be the option for you.
Growth and Scale
What are your predicted business growth rates? If you’re business is growing rapidly, have you mapped out what structures, systems and processes will best support scalability? Are you looking ahead at what scale your CRM will need to be in the next 5-6 years? For example, some off the shelf-packages can be less effective when scaled up. With an off the shelf CRM, it may well be a fast system with hundreds of customers, but will it have the same speed once your contact base grows to thousands or indeed millions?! Therefore, if your business is in the mist of growth with a clear vision of how to get there, a bespoke CRM system will likely be the preferred option for you.
Are you an adaptive business, moulding to different trends and responding quickly to change? Does your business rely on its flexibility to succeed? Well you could argue, all businesses do, as the ability to easily adapt and change to support your business needs can be the difference between success and failure. If the needs of your business are likely to change in the next couple of years or it’s impossible to predict your needs, a bespoke CRM will give you increased flexibility for your future business needs. However, if you do choose an off the shelf package, do ensure it does the fundamental basics, as there are restrictions and sometimes the work arounds being offered can be less user friendly and effective.
The budget you have available, will be a big factor in decision making process. Naturally, you can expect to pay higher costs for bespoke design and development. However, whilst an off the shelf package may be initially cheaper, if you require add ons or customisation, be sure to get both realistic figures and timescales from your chosen company, as time is money in systems development! You get what you pay for is also a fair statement here, so do think carefully with your longer-term business objectives and projections in mind.